I'd give my left......................

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BlueSkyHigh

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.................."you know what" to be able to caulk like a pro! I am a total disaster even with the cheap vinyl stuff that takes 18 hours to set! I'd love to be able to use 100% silicone but I know that would be an absolute disaster! The YouTube heroes make it look so easy! Wet fingers don't work! Silicone trowels don't work. Even masking with thin edged blue painter's tape doesn't help!
 

Twowaxhack

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I use denatured alcohol for silicone and very little water if any for latex caulk.

Cutting the proper size tip is very important.

Practice makes perfect.
 

JG plumbing

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The milwakee m12 caulk guns are great for decent sized caulk jobs. You can control the speed very precisely. I caulked a whole Olympic sized swimming pool once by hand in the fall (cold weather) that was some hand ache.
 

BlueSkyHigh

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The M12 looks like just the ticket. The cheap $4.95 hand operated unit probably would work well in the hands of an "artiste" but every time I pull the trigger the bead of caulk goes all wobbly on me.
 

Tom the Elder

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Get yourself a Dripless caulk gun with a high thrust ratio (I bought the 18:1). Control of the caulk flow. With this gun, the moment you take your finger off the trigger the flow of caulk stops. I had not at all realized how much effort I was putting into caulking until I bought this gun (recommended by manufacturer of high-viscosity epoxy). It won't smooth the bead for you but it makes it MUCH easier to lay down a uniform bead.
 

JG plumbing

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The m12 caulk gun backs the plunger off automatically when you take your finger off the trigger.
 

BlueSkyHigh

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As this bathtub job is probably a one-off job for me, I hired someone who has a better hand than I do and agreed to work for food. My wife said she'd do it and the only thing she wanted as a trip to the local Texas Roadhouse for a tomahawk steak and all the fixins'. She pulled it off making it look as easy as the guys on YouTube but I will take a look at the m12 or equivalent because I do like tools!

Thanks to all of you for your recommendations and support!
 

JG plumbing

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As this bathtub job is probably a one-off job for me, I hired someone who has a better hand than I do and agreed to work for food. My wife said she'd do it and the only thing she wanted as a trip to the local Texas Roadhouse for a tomahawk steak and all the fixins'. She pulled it off making it look as easy as the guys on YouTube but I will take a look at the m12 or equivalent because I do like tools!

Thanks to all of you for your recommendations and support!
If you don't do a lot of projects with caulk I wouldn't buy it. I used to do concrete projects occasionally and there's where I used it mostly. Windows and doors and what not would be good also.
 

havasu

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Very simple job. Clean off all old caulking. Wipe area with isopropol alcohol. Use blue painter's tape. One line of tape above what you want caulked, and another line parallel below you want caulked. Make the gap as small as possible, ensuring coverage on both edges. (I try about 1/4" or less) between the two tapes. Apply caulk inside the line. Once filled, use wet fingers or rags to remove most wet caulking, but filling the void and feathering the edge as light as possible. Pull tape, let dry. Done.

This is exactly what is taught in the video below.

 

Aloha Mark

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This guy recommends ammonia-free window cleaner for leveling the silicone caulk.


I have not tried the method, but in the time he spent doing the demo (after the lay down with the caulk gun), GE silicone caulk will skin over, making smoothing a dicey proposition. I hate silicone caulk with a vengeance.
 

Jeff Handy

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Did not watch the video, but yes silicone skins over and gets ropy pretty fast.
I do each short side first, and separately.
No dawdling, lay it down and tool smooth immediately with my finger, wiping my finger clean every foot or so.
I do the long back wall in two parts, meeting in the middle, and a little fancy blending where they meet.
 

BlueSkyHigh

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Did not watch the video, but yes silicone skins over and gets ropy pretty fast.
I do each short side first, and separately.
No dawdling, lay it down and tool smooth immediately with my finger, wiping my finger clean every foot or so.
I do the long back wall in two parts, meeting in the middle, and a little fancy blending where they meet.
That's how I ended up doing it except I did the long side in one swell foop and NO I won't post a pic of my work!
 

Aloha Mark

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One of the secrets to using silicone must be in cutting/shaping the nozzle opening to the right size. The viscosity of silicone is lower than latex caulk, so cutting too large a hole can result is the material flowing outside the opening. I will admit to that dumb mistake.


Another tip I can recommend is securing the tube in the gun with gaffer tape or similar material, so the tube does not rotate causing you to lose the orientation of the tapered cut.
 

House Doc

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Caulking quickly and professionally take a lot of practice and learning what works for you.
I like silicone caulk. But since I live in a "progressive" (yea right) state that has outlawed "MEK" (the only thing I have found that will dissolve old silicone) and now denatured alcohol (that is recomended to clean-up uncured caulk) it has become cured, it has become really tricky. I still do it but it's not a half hour job anymore.
 

BlueSkyHigh

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Thanks for that insight. I'd better see if I can come up with some methyl ethyl ketone of my own before it's gone. Even though I have no devices that can use it, I still have a couple of full 30 pound jugs of R12 and R22 for some strange reason.

(Just ordered quart of MEK from Amazon)
 
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Jeff Handy

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You could probably sell that old Freon somewhere, probably not legally but hey it beats throwing it out or releasing it out of the bottle.
Try Craigslist, see if they allow the listing.
 

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